Recalling pleasant things and taking the time to dwell on them.
A Rocky Mountain Mayor with Strong Iowa Roots.
So, it is with David Newton Heizerand his family from Kossuth, Iowa. In my research I found a wealth of information. So let me begin, first and foremost, with David’s own account of his earliest years…
I was born November 11, 1846, in Ross County, Ohio. I belonged to a race of pioneers; my great-grandfather, Samuel Heizer, was a pioneer in Virginia when the Blue Ridge Mountains marked the line of the frontier, and lived there at the time of the Revolution. My grand-father, Samuel Heizer, was a pioneer in Ohio and moved from Virginia to Ross County in 1816. My father, Edward Heizer, and his brothers all moved to Iowa on the admission of Iowa as a state into the Union, and a part of them before. I was raised on an Iowa farm fifteen miles north of Burlington until I was seventeen years of age.
As David states, there were six Heizer brothers and two Heizer sisters who came west to Iowa, one of which was Edward Heizer, David’s father. J. W. Merrill, an early historian from the Burlington area, records this:
There were three brothers (Fredrick, Nathaniel and Joshua Heizer) who came with the immigration of 1842. They came here in the fall of the year and settled on farms. Nathaniel purchased his home of David Rankin, and settled on round prairie. Frederick settled on land now owned by Hope Eland, just north of the M. J. Seeds farm. Joshua made his home on the farm he owned for many years, south of Northfield. These three were born in Virginia but came to Ohio when boys, with their parents. There were three other brothers, born in Ohio, who came later — Edward, Samuel and Henry. They grew to manhood in Ohio and all but one (Henry) married before they came west. They brought their families with them, and commenced life as pioneers. They were Presbyterians and their influence added strength to the young church that was being built up in Kossuth.
David grew up working on his father’s farm, but always had an eye on education. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, David was attending school at Yellow Springs College, a local training academy in Yellow Springs township of Des Moines County. In his words…
(In 1863) I enlisted in the latter part of the civil war in Company “M” Second Iowa Cavalry, and served eighteen months of active service and was mustered out at the close of the war at Selma, Alabama (1865).
Historical Civil War records give us these details:
Heizer, David N. Age 17. Resident of Des Moines County, native of Ohio. Enlisted & mustered into Company M of the Second Iowa Calvary on March 29, 1864 and mustered out Sept. 19, 1865, in Selma, Alabama.
In his biography, David states: On returning home, I spent a year on the old home farm and during the next five years, spent the greater part of the time taking a course in the Iowa State University and in teaching school.
University of Iowa (SUI) records from 1871 show David, and his cousin, Cyrus, attending classes in Iowa City between 1869 and 1871.
In our collection, we have several postal covers (below) that indicate during these “school” years (1869-1871) David began a relationship with Emilie (Emma) Caroline McCaughan, a pastor’s daughter from Winterset, Iowa (Madison County).
On February 24, 1871, an act of Congress provided for bringing into market the lands of the Fort Zarah Reservation in central Kansas. David, as a Civil War veteran and two-year graduate at SUI, took advantage of this low-cost land being offered to vets, becoming a pioneer in Barton County, moving to Ft. Zarah in the spring of 1871.
1872 – When the Santa Fe Railroad bypassed Zarah, running through nearby Great Bend instead, most Zarah residents, including David, threw in the towel and put their attention toward Great Bend, a new community on the Arkansas River. As you can see from this report, David was elected Probate Judge for Barton County in July 1872, and other records show, he eventually became Mayor as well.
Emilie (Emma) Caroline McCaughan and David Newton Heizer married, in Great Bend, in 1872. They lived there until moving to Colorado in the 1890’s. Here’s an interesting fact. In 1886, David was involved with the first exploration of oil in Barton County, Kansas.
Emilie (Emma) McCaughan Heizer (born Feb 9, 1847) died Sept 12, 1920 at age 73.David Newton Heizer (born Nov 11, 1846) died on March 27, 1932 at age 85. Both are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.
Because of our link to Find-A-Grave, we were contacted in July 2021 by a dear lady, and fellow historian, Mary Stanulonis of Colorado Springs. Turns out Mary & her husband live in the 1896 home of David & Emilie Heizer.
In her research, she’s uncovered some stock certificates signed by Heizer, as president of an investment company – Cripple Creek and Spearfish mines. They have completely restored the home and have placed these two historical plaques on the front door! Beautiful! Thanks, Mary, for continuing the Heizer story!
All in all – I’d say not too bad for a farm boy from Kossuth, Iowa! Don’t you think?
Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.